'It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.' Discuss.

Essay by everhappygirlHigh School, 11th gradeB-, March 2004

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The Chinese proverb above was used by Adlai E.Stevenson, US ambassador to the United Nations to praise Eleanor Roosevelt after her death in 1962. Since then, many have been using this phrase to describe one's positive actions taken when faced with difficulties or enigmas. "Don't curse the darkness, light a candle." To me, this phrase means 'when one finds himself in a difficult situation, he should not blame the circumstances or sulk over his misfortune. Instead, he should take positive actions to overcome or improve his current situation. The first reactions by people to this famous proverb would be to agree with it. If man had been cursing rather than 'lighting candles', we would very likely still be at the primeval age. Needless to say, change is much more useful to complaining. However, is change always better than remaining in one's current situation and sulking over it once in a while? Is lighting a candle always better than cursing the darkness?

Men have been taking positive actions ever since they came to the Earth around two hundred thousand years ago by coming up with countless useful innovations from the beginning of the Stone Age.

Using stones, they invented the first hand axe. By about 30,000 B.C., arrowheads, spearheads and even delicate sewing needles were made. Soon after, they looked for ways to improve their primitive lifestyles. After inventing language to allow better communication, mankind built boats to discover vast areas of land and learnt how to use fire. Following that was a series of amazing inventions and discoveries. Reading glasses were invented in the 14th century, the first steam engine was made in 1698, the light bulb in 1879 and the telephone in 1876. The 20th century was known as the 'Electronic Age', during which the first all-transistor television and...